ON
THE PRINCE OF PEACE

A Talk Given In

SACRAMENT MEETING CHRISTMAS PROGRAM
STERLING PARK WARD
ASHBURN, VA STAKE

By

D. Calvin Andrus
22 December 2002


I. INTRODUCTION

I like to play Scrabble with my family. But, they don't always like to play with me. My older sons, Stan and Ryan, are quite good at Scrabble. Janet believes I play too hard trying to keep up with my boys. My "large" vocabulary and "creative" spellings gives rise to some "discussions" about the admissibility of a particular word. We then turn to an authoritative source--the dictionary Janet had in college. When Janet went to college, she took her mother's dictionary. I believe it was the dictionary her mother used when her mother went to college. This dictionary was published in 1951--51 years ago. It is a great dictionary. It got my mother-in-law and my wife through college. The problem is that it just doesn't have good Scrabble words like 'cyberspace' or 'megabyte.'

So, in order to keep the peace, I bought a new dictionary with a gift certificate my son had given me. I wanted the Oxford English Dictionary, but I could really only afford a single-volume dictionary. But, I needed one with lots of words. Most good college dictionaries have between 200,000 and 300,00 entries. I found an Oxford dictionary: The Oxford American College Dictionary. It has over 400,000 entries. It not only has the word 'cyberspace' but also 'cyberphobia' and even 'cyborg.' It not only has 'megabyte,' it also has 'megabuck' and 'megamouth.'

Peace has been restored to the Andrus Scrabble game.


II. PEACE

Now that I have my Oxford American College Dictionary, I decided to look up the word 'peace' in preparation for this talk The word 'peace' has essentially five meanings. They are:

  1. Freedom from storms (peace in the environment or weather)
  2. Freedom from war (or, peace among nations)
  3. Freedom from civil disorder (or, peace in the society)
  4. Freedom from interpersonal strife (or, peace with people you know)
  5. Freedom from guilt or anxiety (or, peace with one's self)

In reference to peace, Isaiah (chapter 9, verse 6) refers to the Savior when he proclaims:

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

In what sense is Jesus the Prince of Peace?

First, in Mark 4:36-41 we read that He is the Prince of Peace over the environment.:

And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Second, in Isaiah 2:2-4 we learn that He is the Prince of Peace over the nations of the earth.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, [that] the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Third, in Fourth Nephi chapter 1:1-3, 15 we understand that he is the Prince of Peace over society.

And it came to pass that the thirty and fourth year passed away, and also the thirty and fifth, and behold the disciples of Jesus had formed a church of Christ in all the lands round about. And as many as did come unto them, and did truly repent of their sins, were baptized in the name of Jesus; and they did also receive the Holy Ghost. And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. 15 And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.

Fourth, during the last supper Jesus explains to his disciples how He is the Prince of Peace over interpersonal relations. We read in John 13:34-15:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Fifth, he is our personal Prince of Peace through the atonement. Alma the Younger expresses this as well as anyone in Alma 36:17-21

And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world. Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more. And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain! Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy.

III. DOERS OF THE WORD

Because Jesus is our personal and collective Prince of Peace, we love to sing Christmas hymns of praise. We love Handel's Messiah, because Jesus is our personal Messiah. When we sing Christmas hymns of praise or stand and sing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus I am convinced Heavenly Father and Jesus receive our gifts of praise with the love we intend. We feel the Spirit opening a conduit to Heaven as we sing. We can feel the love flow back and forth.

Listening to or singing Christmas songs is much the same as listening to or speaking the words of the true gospel. Let me paraphrase James 1:22. Let us be doers of the word, not just singers only. It is more meaningful to walk the praise walk, not just sing the praise song. The two most important gifts we can give to Christ at Christmas time are 1) a repentant soul, and 2) helping other people.

Brothers and sisters, in my new calling as Bishop, I am witness both to many acts of Christian service and to honest repentance. This ward has a special spirit because of all of you who are both doers of the word and singers of the song. As I look at this congregation and see the righteous lives represented here I know these Christmas hymns are not sung in vain. As Christ said to Emma Smith in DC 25:12

For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.

The hymns sung today by this choir and congregation are indeed a fit praise to the Prince of Peace at this Christmas time.

IV. ALL YEAR

One of the speakers last week quoted President Hinckley as saying, "Without Easter, there is no Christmas." It is wonderful that we can celebrate and worship Christ on two major holidays--one in the winter and one in the spring. I wish we had a holiday in the late summer to celebrate and worship Christ. It kind of makes me want to adopt Rosh Hashanah--the Jewish Day of Atonement--as a holiday we celebrate. It would round out the year, nicely.

But you know what? We can celebrate Christmas, and Easter, (and Rosh Hashanah) all year long. We can do this by partaking of the sacrament. When we worthily partake of the sacrament we celebrate and worship our personal Prince of Peace. When I take the Sacrament on Sunday I often reflect on how the atonement has changed my life over the years. I think about how much better off I am, how much happier I am, and how much at peace I am. The blessings of the atonement in my life make me feel much like how Joseph Smith must have felt when he penned these word of praise to the Prince of Peace in DC 128:23:

Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!

V. CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I testify that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is the Savior of the world. He is the Messiah and He is the Christ. May His Peace rest upon you throughout the entire year.

In the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


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